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A blog of the Trade for Development Centre
Updated: 39 min 27 sec ago

Ethical smartphone company Fairphone raises €20 million

25 January, 2019 - 16:24

"Dutch ethical smartphone manufacturer Fairphone has raised a total of €20 million in funding and debt over the past few months. (...) Founded in 2013 in Amsterdam, Fairphone is a social enterprise that’s paving the road for “ethical electronics.” The company is working on putting the ethics first across the supply chain, from mining to manufacturing to the device’s life cycle."

Read further the article on

Read the blog post by the new appointed CEO Eva Gouwens

'Envoyé spécial" documentary on cocoa: Children trapped

25 January, 2019 - 11:29

A documentary on child labour in Côte d’Ivoire deserves being watched (in French). It was first broadcast on 10 January 2019 for the French television’s ‘Envoyé spécial’ programme. Côte d’Ivoire, globally the biggest producer of cocoa “has really endeavoured to stop a scourge which is a perceived disgrace to the country. Schools have been built; cocoa-growers have been trained. On TV people are frequently reminded that child labour is prohibited. Unfortunately, children are still exploited’.
In the very west of the country, at eight hours of the country’s capital, near the border with Liberia, in remote forests Paul Moreira, a journalist, came across children, some of which had been working for five years... for free on illegal plantations, before they were given a small plot of land to earn just… 200 euros per year. 
The children came from Burkina Faso to the Guiglo area. They were sold by their parents for approximately 200 000 FCFA (300 euros) to work in cocoa plantations. Approximately, because, as one dealer unveils in the documentary: “Like sheep on the market, they may be more or less expensive.”

Children, some of which are still very young, head for the plantations with chemicals sprayers on their backs. They wear no protective gear — which they would not be able to pay for — while they spray loads of glyphosate to kill the weeds on the plots before the remaining trees are burned down and cacao trees are planted.  
In just one week in Côte d’Ivoire’s south-western forests, Paul Moreira “discovered all crimes which the industry undertook to stop: slavery, child labour and the destruction of nature”. Meanwhile, bags of cocoa enter the mainstream cocoa trade circuit. These bags cannot be traced because they are not labelled and in this particular case are delivered to Cargill, which resells the cocoa to big chocolate brands.
Elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire children skip school too. Cocoa growers often lack the means to send their children to school. According to a study by the French development agency (AfD) and Barry Callebaut[1] cocoa growers earn an average 0.86 euro per day. The documentary points out that cocoa growers earned three times that much in the 1980s and raises the question: “Why not a simple cocoa price hike to stop children from working in the fields?“ 
The investigation documentary by Paul Moreira and Pedro Brito Da Fonseca is available (in French) on:
Meanwhile, most producers earn a pittance whereas big corporations continue to make huge profits. Two examples among others: Cargill reported 9 % net earnings increase year-over-year in 2018. According to the annual report of the company "the increasing earnings in food ingredients and applications in particular was lifted by outstanding performance in cocoa and chocolate"[2]. Barry Callebaut announced a 31 % rise in net profit for the same period[3].

[1] Gaëlle Balineau (AFD), Safia Bernath (Barry Callebaut), Vaihei Pahuatini, Cocoa farmers’ agricultural practices and livelihoods in Côte d’Ivoire, Insights from cocoa farmers and community baseline surveys conducted by Barry Callebaut between 2013 and 2015, Technical notes, AfD.[2][3]

TDC supports cocoa producers in Vietnam

24 December, 2018 - 16:12

TDC worked together with NAPP (Network of Asia and Pacific Producers) and VCA (Vietnam Cooperatives Alliance) to support cocoa producers in the Vietnamese highlands. The project ‘sustainable development of cocoa production starting from cooperative model’ trained 450 farmer families in fair trade practices. The project aimed to create one new cooperative and reinforce two existing ones. Today the farmers produce 500 tons of fair trade certified cocoa beans of a better quality that they can sell at a better price.

Strategic partnership between Tony’s Chocolonely, Albert Heijn and Barry Callebaut sets new industry standard for sourcing cocoa

16 December, 2018 - 18:48
Dutch impact organization Tony’s Chocolonely, retailer Albert Heijn and chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut have forged a strategic partnership to end child labor and modern slavery in the chocolate industry. 
With a mission to make 100% slave-free the norm in chocolate, for years Tony’s Chocolonely has been calling on companies to follow their example for cocoa sourcing based on direct relations with cocoa cooperatives, traceable cocoa and a living income for cocoa farmers. The company shares full details of its transparent supply chain under Tony’s Open Chain – an open-source platform where chocolate companies can access all the expertise needed to eliminate social issues from their own supply chain. The platform includes tools such as Tony’s Beantracker and the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System that has been implemented at all Tony’s partner cooperatives. 
Dutch biggest retailer Albert Heijn is the first company to sign up for Tony’s Open Chain, while world-leading chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has enabled the partnership with its expertise in processing the segregated cocoa to chocolate. 
“We have always aimed to be exemplary and inspire others to act. Today our impact is bigger than our chocolate alone. We’re certain that this is just the first step on the journey to change the industry - together make chocolate 100% slave-free.” says Henk Jan Beltman, Chief Chocolate Officer with Tony’s Chocolonely.
From March 2019 Delicata will hit Albert Heijn shelves with chocolate made exclusively from fully traceable cocoa, bought at a higher price from Tony’s Chocolonely partner cooperatives in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Tony’s Chocolonely’s five sourcing principles enable cocoa farmers to earn a livable income and remove anonymity from the supply chain, knowing exactly who grows the beans and under which circumstances. According to Tony's Chocolonely, extreme poverty is the main cause of lasting social issues in the cocoa industry, issues which will only be resolved when companies go beyond certifications and are willing to pay a higher price than the certification premium. The three parties unveiled the news of their partnership today at the Tony’s FAIR, Tony’s Chocolonely’s annual meeting in Amsterdam. 

Fairtrade raises its cocoa farmer's minimum price by 20%

9 December, 2018 - 15:45
Fairtrade International has announced the raising of its guaranteed minimum price for cocoa producers. It goes from $ 2,000 to $ 2,400 per metric ton at the point of export (FOB). The additional Fairtrade Premium is also raised by 20%. It will be $ 240 per metric ton instead of $ 200. Fairtrade organic cocoa will cost $ 300 more than the market price or the minimum fair trade price.
These increases follow the failure identified by the organisation itself: 77% of Fairtrade certified cocoa farmers in Côte d'Ivoire are below the poverty line.* 
The new Fairtrade Minimum Price at FOB level would equate to approximately $1,600 per metric tonne at farm gate level in Côte d’Ivoire and is still below the Fairtrade Living Income Reference Prices of $2,668 per metric tonne of cocoa in Côte d’Ivoire and $2,300 in Ghana. Those LIRF prices are based on what the ISEAL Living Income Community of Practice has calculated to be needed in each country to support the average cocoa farming household’s basic costs for food, housing, clothing, health care, education plus a small provision for emergencies.
As mentioned by Fairtrade International : "The Living Income Reference Price should enable full-time cocoa farmers to earn a living income if implemented as part of a holistic strategy that also includes increased productivity and diversified crops". 

* To find out more about the reasons for this setback and some ways to improve ethics in the sector, read the TDC article: "Fair trade struggles to lift cocoa farmers out of poverty in Ivory Coast"

Belgium joins countries calling on the European Commission to act on deforestation

8 December, 2018 - 11:13
On December 5, Belgium presented an Initiative calling on the European Commission to “develop an ambitious action plan against deforestation and forest degradation before the end of the current mandate of the European Commission (mid 2019)”.

It is the seventh European Union (EU) Member State to do so, following a letter sent by Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Italy in November 2018. It is the first time that Belgium has made such a specific call.

This recommendation is part of a sustainability initiative on chocolate, set up by the Belgium government, chocolate companies and civil society, which aims to provide a fair income to cocoa producers and stop deforestation driven by cocoa production by 2030.

The initiative also calls on the European Commission to propose a due diligence regulation for the cocoa sector, describing it as “particularly ripe for legislation addressing the root causes of and interlinkages between human rights violations and deforestation”.

This follows calls made at the World Cocoa Conference earlier this year, where chocolate companies agreed in a common declaration that there was a need to “strengthen human rights due diligence, including through potential regulatory measures by governments.

Full text of the initiative can be found here: French versionDutch version

Sustainable timber: Countries meet to swap experiences on EU trade compliance

27 November, 2018 - 11:42
From: FAO

"Experts working to eliminate illegal logging in the Republic of the Congo and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic gathered in Ghana to learn from that country’s own experiences in promoting trade of legally-produced timber to the European Union."
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The State of Sustainable Markets 2018: Statistics and Emerging Trends

9 November, 2018 - 18:11
Voluntary sustainability standards (VSS) are experiencing significant growth across the world in response to consumer, buyer and producer demands, according to ‘The State of Sustainable Markets 2018: Statistics and Emerging Trends’ report.
The report outlines data on global production volumes and areas, as well as certified producers, for 14 major VSS. These standards, which provide consumers assurances that their purchases support sustainability, can enhance market connections and price premiums for producers, but potentially come with substantial compliance costs.
The State of Sustainable Markets 2018: Statistics and Emerging Trends is the third joint report by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), and the International Trade Centre (ITC). The report is the most comprehensive global data source available for certified agricultural commodity markets. It presents data that helps small firms take advantage of trends to supply consumers with products that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible.The report shows that agricultural land on which certified commodities are grown continues to increase. For some products, such as coffee and cocoa, more than 20% of global cultivation is certified as sustainable.  Certified cotton is witnessing the highest growth rate, with the area under cultivation trebling between 2011 and 2016. Certified cocoa also almost trebled in area; while oil palm and tea-certified areas more than doubled during the same five-year span.
The report finds that in 2016, more than 57.8 million hectares of agricultural land across the world were organic-certified, including land that is in the process of becoming certified as such. This represents 1.2% of all agricultural land worldwide.
In terms of individual standards rather than crops, the State of Sustainable Markets finds that the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) experienced the greatest jump, with the certified area covered expanding more than seven-fold. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) area increased nearly five times, while that of Cotton made in Africa (CmiA) nearly quadrupled.

State of Sustainable Markets 2018 highlights

Cocoa: the largest growth in terms of certified areaBetween 2015 and 2016, certified cocoa demonstrated the strongest growth with a 28% increase. However, over the same period, most other commodities experienced single-digit growth or even saw a decline in certified area.
Coffee: 26% of the world’s coffee is certifiedIn 2016, over a quarter of global coffee was certified by at least one of the following standards: 4C, Fairtrade International, Organic, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ.This is a conservative estimate, as the figure could be as high as 45%, if the coffee is not certified by multiple initiatives.
Single-sector standards continue to dominateMarket uptake is largely driven by standards directly targeting mainstream adoption within a specific sector. In each of the sectors discussed, where single-commodity standards have been developed (coffee, cotton, forestry, oil palm, sugarcane and soy), they are by far the largest standards. The dominance of single-commodity standards is particularly remarkable given that they tend to be the newest standards on the market, with the exception of the forestry sector. 
Download the report

Fair Trade USA launches record number of private label products

8 November, 2018 - 09:23
From: international Comunicaffe

"Fair Trade USA, the leading third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in North America, has collaborated with dozens of retailers across the industry (e-commerce, brick and mortar, and foodservice) to launch 176 Fair Trade Certified™ private label items to date in 2018."

Read further the article by international Comunicaffe